For the Roses

Joni Mitchell

1972: Asylum 7559-60624-2

  1. Banquet
  2. Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire
  3. Barangrill
  4. Lesson in Survival
  5. Let the Wind Carry Me
  6. For the Roses
  7. See You Sometime
  8. Electricity
  9. You Turn Me On I’m a Radio
  10. Blonde in the Bleachers
  11. Woman of Heart and Mind
  12. Judgement of the Moon and Stars (Ludwig’s Tune)

I love about half of this album and generally ignore the other half. The reasons I love it are tracks 2, 3, 4, and 8, and sometimes the title track and “See You Sometime.” I cannot STAND “You Turn Me On I’m a Radio,” “Woman of Heart and Mind” is just not what I listen to Joni for, and I’m iffy on “Banquet” because of its preachy Grandma Moses simplicity. “Electricity” moves me greatly…I love the shifty chord pattern and the mixed-up narrative, puns and all. “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire” intrigues me a little differently on each listening, as though the storyline has never quite held still over all these years, and its dark, slinky, posturing groove is just delicious. “Barangrill,” well, it’s just a lovely out-of-focus snapshot, isn’t it? Sort of Bagdad Café in advance…. “Lesson In Survival” almost doesn’t take form as a distinct track, but I do like its character sketch. Unfortunately the title track only works for me when I’m in a certain mood; the rest of the time it’s just too obvious and righteously judgemental (however rightly that may be).

[HA! Oh, the beauty of time passing…. That title track I lamented has been truly recast as something demanding a rethink…and by Her Highness herself, on her fascinating 2002 album Travelogue. I hereby partially retract my assessment of that song here, in light of the retrospective version; it still doesn’s “sit” with me, here, but now I’m given a second perspective on it from its creator, and that’s a kind of double-sight truth I can appreciate tremendously…and do. THANK YOU, JONI]